After her dinner plate was cleaned up and had begun to relax on the couch while reading the news, the door chime went off. It was Will Riker. He stepped into the room.
“Three times in one day, sir. I feel honored. Would you like something to drink? I just made some tea,” she offered her guest.
“Uh sure,” he said as he took a seat in the armchair. He had changed out of his uniform and into causal attire.
She handed him a cup and asked him, “So, what can I do for you, Commander?”
“First of all, please, I’m out of uniform. Call me Will.”
“Okay, hey, I am the protocol officer. I live for formalities.” The both laughed.
“The real reason I came by tonight is very important,” he said as Aria took a seat near Riker. “You won’t find it on any calendar, but Captain Picard’s birthday is in two weeks and I think we should throw him a party.”
“Then you have come to the right office.”
He smiled. “There is one wrinkle. Every time we’ve tried to do something for him, somehow he finds out and orders us to stop or plans. Your job is to arrange it and for him to not find out.”
“That sounds like a fun challenge. I don’t know him that well. Do you have any ideas?”
“He seems to enjoy all sorts of music and Shakespeare if that is any help.”
Aria sat back in her chair, swirling her tea in her cup as if it helped her think. Riker could see the gears turning in her head, concocting a plan of action for the project he had proposed.
“How about, we have a cocktail reception, followed by a concert by one of the ensembles on board. Nothing too big or complicated and lets try to keep it on the small side. The less who know the harder it will be for him to find out about it,” she said after a few moments of silence.
“I think you have hit upon something. You are as good as your file.”
“Thanks,” she replied out of reflex. Her mind was racing, planning some of the details. Aria stood up and started to take notes on a near by pad. “Now, what kinds of music does the Captain enjoy? I noticed there are a several ensembles. Which one is the best?”
“I would have to say the jazz ensemble.”
“Okay, I’ve got it. Can you get me the names of those that should be invited?” He nodded in agreement. “And there is one other thing, when exactly is Captain Picard’s birthday?”
“Two weeks from tomorrow.”
“It is a little bit tight, since I haven’t been on board a full day yet. It will be perfect though. I will need you to okay everything, especially since you know him so well. Oh, and could you concoct a way for him to get there?”
The two officers spoke for a few more minutes about the event, when out of the blue, Will asked, “Are you upset that I never contacted you after we left Soloron 7?”
“No. I knew our futures were heading in different directions and I didn’t think you would have really contacted me anyway.”
“I kind of feel bad about it.”
“Don’t be. I never contacted you, either so we are both at fault. I did realized though that you are a great guy, but there was nothing between us except for friendship.”
“I felt the same way. I am glad we met though.”
“Me too. So tell me Will, what have you been up to the past three years? Did you ever re-connect with your soul mate?”
“No, not really. We’re still good friends. I don’t know what’s really going on with us. Things are good between us now and our lives are already complicated enough. She actually is on the ship. I think you met her today, Councilor Troi. How about you? Have you found your soul mate yet?”
“No, not yet. I haven’t had the chance to date much lately. The few dates I have been on, there just hasn’t been that connection I’ve been looking for. No one seems to fit. Maybe I am hoping for too much. Anyway, I am usually too busy with work to worry about such things.”
“That is a shame. I’ll have to introduce you around the ship. By the way, we are playing poker in my quarters the day after next. You should come.”
“I don’t know. I have so much to get caught up on,” she said pointing over to the mound of information she had to sort through. “I haven’t even gotten to my office yet.”
“Come on, it will be fun. Twenty hundred hours.”
“If I have the time,” she replied with a wink.
After Will left that night, Aria finally finished unpacking. It didn’t take her too long to do that. Most of her clothes got hung up in her closet. Everything else was placed in drawers, except for her personal items that had to go in the bathroom. Anything else she had to have, she could replicate. Aria made her bed and changed into her pajamas. Now that she was comfortable, she sat down by the window in the living area and practiced her flute for over an hour. By the time she was done she was exhausted and went to bed.
Lying on her back, looking up at her new ceiling, her mind began to wonder back to the Captain. She had not of been on board a day and she was already planning his birthday party. Oh boy, was she nervous. Not only did she want to prove she was up to the challenge, but she wanted to do a good job for her re-found friend and for her Captain.
She vowed to herself, that for now, she would only allow herself to think of the captain in the sanctuary of her quarters. Aria could still feel the shot of electricity she felt when they shook hands earlier that day. It was so unlike her to have a crush on anyone, let alone her commanding officer. She was almost mad at herself for feeling as out of control as she did.